A Word in Your Ear from Mr Perrin
THERE were no Local Government elections in any of the Thurrock wards in 2013 but this year we are presented with a “double whammy” i.e. the election of councillors and the election of Members for the European Parliament [MEPs].
Holding more than one election on the same day could create confusion in the minds of voters who are required to vote on both local and national issues at the same ballot. That is not to say that voters are incapable of dealing with more than one election at a time but, in my opinion, a more considered vote would be arrived at if elections of councillors were held separately and were based entirely on local issues.
Councillors should take on board they are elected to deal with “local” issues affecting Thurrock and remind themselves that local means “belonging to a town or other limited region, as distinct from the country as a whole”. During local government elections Parliamentary candidates should confine themselves to supporting local candidates on local issues and leave national issues to General Elections.
As a constituent of the Belhus Ward I shall restrict myself to reminding the people of Belhus of the past record of the Labour Party candidate for Belhus, Cllr Wendy Curtis, together with the past records of the two other Belhus Ward Labour Councillors, Charles Curtis and Sue Gray.
So, Belhus Ward Voters, before you cast your vote you may want to reflect upon how the above mentioned Councillors have supported you and had your interests and welfare as their primary concern.
HOWARD TENENS AND HEAVY GOOD VEHICLES [HGVs]
All three Councillors opposed a proposal by Howard Tenens to move the entry to their site to a position that would have alleviated the noise and pollution caused to residents, especially residents of Stifford Road, despite a petition signed by many hundreds of you supporting the proposal. In fact Cllr Charles Curtis spoke at two public meetings strongly opposing the Howard Tenens application ostensibly on the grounds that the proposal would encroach upon “green belt” land. He also stated at one of the meetings “As you know Chair, you and I have plans for that site” implying that if the proposal was rejected and Howard Tenens decided to sell up and move out, Cllr Charles Curtis had some personal interest in the future development of that site.
Upon further investigation it was revealed that a company known as “Veiola Waste Disposal” had plans to build houses on that site should it become available, and guess what Cllr Charles Curtis just happened to be the Chair of the ”Vieola Mardyke Trust” which does not mean that he was a member of the Board of “Vieola Waste Disposal” but he was Chairman of a Trust that is funded and supported by that Company and should have declared a conflict of interest at the meeting. Make of that what you will, but if you are still suffering from the noise of HGVs “thundering” past your homes, the blame lies with your councillors, one of them, Cllr Wendy Curtis, is currently asking you to vote for her. Remember, in my opinion, she puts the interests of the Council and a private Company above your interests.
TOXIC MOULD IN YOUR HOME
Damp and mould in your home is a serious problem and if untreated can develop into toxic mould. Toxic mould is classed as a Category 1 hazard and, along with asbestos, is a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of those living in infected homes, at worst it can cause death if the spores are inhaled and your lungs are damaged. Again all three of the Belhus Councillors opposed a campaign, organised by Ms Deirdre Lodge who is terminally ill with three quarters of her lungs having been destroyed by Toxic mould, to make people aware of the dangers of toxic mould and to insist that the Council has a responsibility to ensure that people live in homes that are safe and free from life threatening hazards.
Cllr Wendy Curtis has told people who have raised concerns about damp and mould in their homes that it is not a threat to health and is only a Category 4 hazard and that people are making a fuss about nothing and are using the issue as a means of being re-housed. Her attitude, along with that of the other two Councillors, demonstrates her indifference to the concerns and anxieties of those people living in infected properties
It has even been suggested that the campaign by Ms Lodge was nothing short of “scaremongering”. Cllr Wendy Curtis is asking you to vote for her. Before you cast your vote, especially if you are living in a Council property infected with damp and mould, take a moment to reflect upon her cynicism and probably, like her husband Cllr Charles Curtis, she is of the opinion that council tenants should count themselves lucky to have a roof over their heads and stop complaining about the condition of the property.
AARON KIELY THE ABSENTEE COUNCILLOR
Mr Kiely was elected in 2010 as a Labour Councillor for the South Ockendon Ward and promised much at his election address, he was “a man with a plan”. Unfortunately the plan had nothing whatsoever to do with his responsibilities as an elected Councillor or fulfilling the promises he made to the people of South Ockendon but more to do with his self-aggrandisement plans elsewhere and, it would seem, used his Council allowances to fund those plans.
You may wonder what connects the Belhus Ward Councillors to the conduct of Mr Kiely, who has been posing as a Councillor since May 2010, the answer is all three Councillors recommended him for selection, particularly so Cllrs Charles & Wendy Curtis. In so far as I am aware not one of the Councillors has been critical of or censured Mr Kiely regarding his disgraceful conduct, on the contrary they appear to condone his absenteeism and continue to give him their unqualified support, but I recall Cllr Charles Curtis has his own “proud” history of absenteeism [AWOL} whilst doing his two years national service in the army. Again, in so far as I am aware, not one of the Councillors has shown the slightest empathy with the people who put their trust in cllr Kiely and voted for him only to be treated with complete indifference bordering on contempt. But then I should not be surprised as he is only following the example of indifference and unconcern given him by his “mentors” the Belhus Ward Councillors. Before you cast your vote remember that Wendy Curtis prefers to give her support to such as the wily Mr Kiely at the expense of the interests of voters.
EX-MILITARY PERSONNEL AND “THE VETERANS CHARTER”
It was Cllr Charles Curtis, husband of Cllr Wendy Curtis, who when Mayor of Thurrock signed into being the “Veterans Charter” which committed the Council to ensuring that military personnel, settling in Thurrock, would be treated as “special cases” and initially given priority with regard to housing. The photograph of the Mayor [Cllr Charles Curtis], along with the press release, was intended to create the impression the he really cared about the welfare of ex-military personnel and that he was proud to be signing the Charter on behalf of the Council. What a sham that impression turned out to be when, at a subsequent Committee Meeting, he stated he was “strongly” opposed to the idea that ex-military personnel should be given special consideration saying “they knew what they were letting themselves in for so why should they expect to be given “special” treatment. I am more concerned for the single mum with three children living on the top floor of a high rise block of flats whose chances of being re-housed would be set back if ex-military personnel were given priority”.
So here we have another example of how indifferent and unconcerned these Councillors really are and are only willing to help those who are most likely to vote for them.
BEFORE YOU VOTE YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER THE ABOVE AND ASK IS Cllr Wendy Curtis DESERVING OF YOUR VOTE?
In conclusion, Local Government elections are increasingly being fought on National issues rather than local issues and all three major political parties are guilty of doing so. If they insist on turning local elections into mini-national elections then, as voters, perhaps you should vote accordingly. Which brings me to a current issue of national concern, namely the uncontrolled immigration from member countries of the European Union? It is not “racist” to express concern about who and the numbers coming into this country from elsewhere and the effect such uncontrolled immigration has on the host country e.g. jobs, housing, hospitals, schools and the economy. The only Party committed to tackling the problem of uncontrolled immigration is UKIP, therefore you may consider voting for their candidate in both elections being held on 22nd May for a Member of the European Parliament and a Local Councillor.
Personally I am in favour of a European Union but not to the extent of sacrificing our right to govern ourselves, to make our own laws, to control who and the number of people entering the UK, and, if as UKIP says, the only way of retaining our right to govern ourselves and exercise control over immigration is complete withdrawal from the European Union, then so be it.